Hurricane Maria delivered a direct and ferocious hit to the Caribbean island of Dominica over the course of Monday night, pulverizing the island with the full force of the elements.
Satellite imagery depicted the hurricane engulfing the island, which struck with sustained winds of 160 miles per hour after intensifying from a Category 1 to a Category 5 in less than 24 hours.
Maria is the only Category 5 storm to have struck Dominica on record.
The commonwealth’s prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, delivered a harrowing report from his own battered home, detailing “mind-boggling” and “widespread devastation.”
The National Hurricane Center is warning of a “life-threatening” storm surge for all of the Leeward Islands, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. And now, images of the storm’s power are beginning to emerge.
The French Caribbean island Guadeloupe was also in the direct path of the storm. Residents of Pointe-à-Pitre weathered flooding, winds, rain, and widespread damage.
Hurricane Maria is striking some of the same areas affected by Hurricane Irma just last week, such as the islands of St. Maarten and St. Lucia.
Maria is also sweeping across the Caribbean as Hurricane Jose travels north off the coast of the Northeastern United States.
Maria is expected to reach Puerto Rico, to which many Caribbean island evacuees have fled, on Wednesday. If it sustains its Category 5 status, it will be the first storm of that magnitude to hit the island since 1928.
With the repeated devastation of these islands, here’s hoping neighboring nations heed Prime Minister Skerrit’s call for help.
“We will need help, my friend,” wrote Skerrit on Facebook. “We will need help of all kinds.”